Turning Point

Author's Note: Here's another story! I understand my weakness as a writer and I hope I'm starting to improve. Remember guys, if you read, please leave a review! I'd love to hear from you guys.

If you were to pass me on the street, you would only assume that I, a humble man of the cloth, would only know a life inside of a monastery. You would think that I would have spent my youth as a stable boy, performing simple labor during the day and praying at nights and on the sabbath to keep both my body and soul pure. Then, as I got older, I would have spent much of my time bent over a desk, inscribing copies of holy scriptures that would be spread out through the world. I wouldn't blame you for thinking such things; such a way is how many of our religion spend their lives behind stone walls.

However, you would be wrong. I did not have such a life. For the first twenty years of my life, I was not a pious person. I did not pray, I did not worship on the sabbath, nor did I do anything that would be called saintly. What I did was just what everyone else in my village did: I worked, I drank alcohol, I gambled, and I enjoyed both a good brawl and a willing maiden.

At the age of twenty-one, I left my village of Amber Town to see the world outside. To wander past the walls of my home, to go past the farms on the outskirts and beyond. I had always heard tales of grand things such as giants, dragons, battles that would decide the fate of a nation, sea monsters, and even mermaids! I left in hopes of finding such things, but I never found them. However, I did stumble across something that has stayed with me for years. It is the very reason why I joined the priesthood.

It was on a night during the second month of my wandering journey. I had made camp underneath a large oak tree in the Vale of Wlite. It is a beautiful, cozy sort of place, really. During the day, it's filled with a sea of green and a stretch of blue thanks to a large river that flows through the Vale. It's beauty is often talked about by the other people in my village, and they also speak of an abundance of animals that roam the Vale. With that knowledge, I was able to find a hearty dinner thanks to a few conies I managed to flush out of their holes.

With my belly full of roasted cony, I was just about to drift off to sleep, bathed in the warm glow of my campfire, when I suddenly heard strange sounds in the night air. At first, I couldn't discern what sounds they were, but after a time I realized that the sounds I was hearing were the sound of swords striking one another and the sound of people yelling.

"It's none of my business," I said to myself at first, but then I remembered why I was out here to begin with. My goal was to see all kinds of things, to see what the world had to offer. With that in mind, I left my camp and tracked down the source of the noise.

In a clearing, fifty feet away from my campsite, I saw two men engaged in what appeared to be a battle to the death. One man was dressed head to toe in magnificent armor. I could not see his face, but in the moonlight, I could see him like a shining beacon. The other man was the polar opposite of his opponent. Wearing robes as black as shadow, I could not see a single detail about the man, especially with the heavy hood he wore over his head. What I could determine was that he carried a weapon: a staff with a long, curved blade at the top. A scythe!

I had seen this sort of thing before at the farms outside of my village, but I had only seen them used for crop harvesting. I never really imagined it to be use in combat. I knew not why they were fighting, nor could I hear what they were saying from where I hid in the treeline, but I found myself enthralled by their bloodthirsty dance. I couldn't neither look away or run away. To this day, I'm not even sure if I would have wanted to.

The way the hooded man moved and fought with the scythe was nothing like I had ever seen before. I had heard tales of people fighting with mere sticks instead of a heavy, sharpened blade, but I never thought they would be of any worth. However, this man seemed to be able to fight on par with the swordsman. Truly there were people and things in this world I had yet to discover for myself.

The two of them danced around the field, blocking and slashing at one another. Even through the armor, the swordsman lost blood when the hooded man struck him, as even in the moonlight I could see a dark substance running down his body, staining his armor. I wanted to scream out "You can beat him, knight!" or "Don't let that black bastard win!", but I could not find my voice. I do not know what their quarrel was, but the man in black scared me greatly. Whatever their problem, I wanted the swordsman to win, even if he turned out to be some kind of cruel, tyrannical warlord.

I do not know how long the two of them battled each other, although to me, it felt like an eternity. The conflict finally resolved itself when the hooded man feinted, throwing his opponent off guard and while he was distracted, the scythe sliced through the air. In that one moment, the armored head of the knight separated from it's owner and fell into the tall grass, disappearing from my sight. The body fell on its knees and leaned backward; it was as if the headless corpse was trying to lean back so far, that it would get a view of the stars above us all.

Without missing a beat, the hooded man approached the body. I couldn't see it at first, but he had pulled something from inside his robes. From the distance I was at, it looked like...some sort of ball? Or an orb? He held it outward and, to my amazement, the body of the fallen warrior began to glow. It was a beautiful light, one I had never seen before in my life! The light covered the entire body, but then I watched as it seemed to be sapped away. The light moved through the air and filled the orb that the hooded man held in his hand.

The orb glowed magnificently, illuminating a bit of what the shadows kept hidden from me. The face under the hood sent a jolt of fear into my heart; it was remarkably skull like with very pale skin and dark, sunken eyes. I thought I was staring at a long dead body resurrected from a burial mound!

My night of terror did not end there. Behind the skull-faced man, the air began to distort and waver. It was like the air you would see during a hot summer's season, but the air was quite cool that night. From the distortion, a void appeared and what fear I held in my heart from the man was replaced by a far more greater fear that I had ever felt in my entire life.

Inside the void, I saw a giant pair of glowing, red eyes; the eyes of a demon. The skull-faced man, apparently sensing the disturbance behind him, turned to the eyes, raising the orb high over his head. He spoke in a tongue that I did not recognize: "Luos erup a fo etast eht hsiler dna tsaef. Em nopu dewotseb evah uoy rewop eht rof tnemyap sa, krad eno, luos siht uoy reffo I."

A bone-chilling laughter came from the void as some sort of...thing came from within! It was some sort of limb, massive and covered with both scales and fur. At the end was a sort of twisted, bony claw that reached and snatched the glowing orb away from the skull-faced man. The thing in the void said something and then the void simply faded away.

The hooded man simply walked away into the wilderness.

After witnessing such horrors, I abandoned my life of excitement and adventure. I ran back to the city I had just come from before making camp that night and rushed to the temple there. Once inside, I confessed all of my sins to a priest and I knelt and prayed until my knees were on fire with pain. The monks there were curious as to why I was so adamant and they said that I must have seen the Devil himself.

I decided to keep all the major details of my night to myself and insisted that I join the priesthood. The monks were surprised at such a sudden request. They took me to the head of their church and after a long talk about who I was, where I came from and what reasons (those I decided to tell, that is) I had to join, they inducted me into their order.

I am approaching my twilight years now, and for many years I have always been haunted by what I saw in the clearing that night. Every day, I use what I've learned here to help those who seek help and guidance, but I pray to the Lord Almighty Himself that I never be witness to something such as that ever again.

- Father Eli Elward

The entry in the diary was old; the paper was yellow and crinkled, the black ink dried and in some places, fading. The young lady who sat at the small table in the middle of the night, reading the leather cased book by candlelight. She placed the book on the table in front of her and rubbed her eyes, stifling a yawn. She stared at the book and brushed a lock of red hair away. "What a fascinating story..."